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Posts tagged amateurs

from The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection, by Robert Farrar Capon, 1968

The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers—amateurs—it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral—it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.

from Common Landscape of America, 1580–1845, by John R. Stilgoe (Yale University Press, 1983)

Agriculturalists have long distrusted miners, millers, and other proponents of manufacturing; in a land where once nine of every ten people worked in agriculture, it is not surprising that much of our national heritage subtly emphasizes the good life of husbandry and the beauty and rightness of space shaped for farming. Equally significant in American culture is the tension between common and professional builders; while well-read men who understood the new theories of geography, mercantile capitalism, representative government, and innovative design sometimes directed colonization, people much less literate and far more traditional actually shaped the land. Very few cartographers and surveyors and spatial theorists migrated to the New World; men like William Penn were as rare as his finely drawn plan for Philadelphia, and even he did not stay to watch his plan take form.